There’s more to life than the Unicorn Club

The poolhall’s a great equalizer. In the poolhall, nobody cares how old you are, how young you are, what color your skin is or how much money you’ve got in your pocket… It’s about how you move.

-Intro scene to Poolhall Junkies

To be perfectly honest, I am going to be biased in post.  Not just like the Chomsky “news filters” biased where the bias is hidden in supposed objectivity, but just straight up biased.  I’m just gonna say it right upfront so there’s no hint or sense that I’m trying to hide anything from the reader.

I don’t think you need an MBA.

I don’t.  I really really don’t.  I believe the stereotype in this article that I’m currently enraged with, which is as follows:

By now, most in the startup community are well aware of the pervasive opinion that it’s best for wannabe tech entrepreneurs to bypass the MBA — not to mention years of climbing the corporate ladder — to get their hands dirty right away. After all, the thinking goes, the sooner you fail, the sooner you can start to succeed. Building a startup from scratch, winding it up and letting it go is the new MBA. Business school, meanwhile, has been relegated to the second tier, a place where math-oriented overachievers who don’t know what to do with their lives go to put off the real world.

I 100% believe this as true and I don’t really see myself changing my mind about it.

Now, here’s the part where I get enraged:

Despite popular perception, it turns out, when it comes to mega-successful startups — members of what Aileen Lee of Cowboy Ventures terms the Unicorn Club — the hoodie-wearing college-dropout CEO comes as a freak occurrence… The overwhelming majority of successful startup founders attended selective universities for undergrad, graduate school or both. More than two-thirds of the billionaire startup founder list attended a Top 10 school.

That seems like a pretty clear statement of fact.  Here’s some statistics, and da da da da, education is important, da da da da.  So why am I enraged?

Because there’s more to life than the Unicorn Club (1 Billion dollars+ companies).

The reason that I love the tech startup scene is because even if you look at it from the most cynical point of view, it’s the closest to a meritocracy as you can get in modern day capitalism.  Sure, you might not have funding, the connections, the mentorship, etc.  But hey, you have a chance to build something great and to be handsomely rewarded for it.

And I strongly believe that it’s a false assumption that success is defined by building a company that’s worth more than a billion dollars.  I think it’s completely dismissive to look at the Whatsapp and Facebooks of the world and say, “if you didn’t build something this big, you’re a failure”.

Go forth, build, and forget the unicorn.

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